London and Essex are among the areas moving into Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions from Saturday. It means millions more people won’t be able to mix with other households indoors.
The announcement follows the introduction of England’s new three-tier system. Other parts of the UK have also introduced new restrictions.
How does England’s new three-tier system work?
Every area of England now falls into three categories – medium (Tier 1), high (Tier 2) or very high (Tier 3), depending on the local rate of infection.
What are the rules for Tier 1 (medium alert)?
Areas in Tier 1 are subject to the basic national rules previously in force.
You may not meet in a group of more than six people, indoors or outdoors, unless you’re in a larger household or a support bubble.
Pubs, bars and restaurants in a Tier 1 area must close by 22:00.
What are the rules for Tier 2 (high alert)?
The rules for Tier 1 also apply in Tier 2.
In addition, you are not allowed to meet socially with people you do not live with indoors – this includes private homes, as well as pubs or restaurants.
People in support bubbles can go on meeting as before and informal childcare may also be provided.
You can still meet friends and family outdoors, but only in a group of up to six people.
The areas to go into high alert restrictions this weekend are:
- Elmbridge in Surrey
- Barrow in Furness, Cumbria
- North East Derbyshire
- Erewash, Derbyshire
What are the rules in Tier 3 (very high alert)?
Areas with the most rapidly rising transmission rates are placed in Tier 3.
You are not allowed to meet socially with anybody who is not part of your household or your support bubble indoors or in certain outdoor locations.
You cannot meet in private gardens or pub gardens, but can meet in parks, beaches, countryside or forests, as long as you are not in a group of more than six.
Pubs and bars must close unless they are serving substantial meals – alcohol can only be served as part of a meal.
People are being advised not to travel into or out of Tier 3 areas, other than for work, education, youth services or because of caring responsibilities.
At present, only the Liverpool City Region is classed as very high risk. A final decision on whether to add Greater Manchester has not been made, MPs have told the BBC.
What are Northern Ireland’s new rules?
The restrictions have been introduced for four weeks to limit the spread of the virus. Schools will close for a two-week extended half-term break from 19 October.
- From Friday 16 October, pubs, bars and restaurants must close, except for takeaways and deliveries, which must stop by 23:00 BST
- Support bubbles will be limited to a maximum of 10 people from two households
- You are not allowed to stay overnight in someone else’s home, unless they are part of your bubble
- Close-contact services such as hairdressers and beauticians must close, except for essential services
- No indoor or contact sport allowed unless at elite level; gyms stay open for individual exercise only
- No mass events of more than 15 people, apart from certain sporting events
- Wedding ceremonies limited to 25 people from 19 October, with no receptions
- Funerals limited to 25 people, with no wakes allowed before or afterwards
What are the current restrictions in Scotland?
Because of higher levels of Covid infection, 3.4 million people in central Scotland are subject to tougher restrictions until 25 October.
The region affected covers 18 local council and five health board areas (Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire & Arran, Lothian, Forth Valley).
In these areas, all licensed premises – with the exception of hotel bars for residents – have to close indoors and outdoors, though takeaways are permitted.
Cafes can stay open until 18:00 daily, as long as they don’t serve alcohol.
People living in these areas have been told to avoid public transport, unless absolutely necessary, and not to leave their local areas if possible (people from outside are encouraged not to visit).
Other measures include the closing of snooker halls, bowling alleys, casinos and bingo halls, the suspension of non-professional contact sports and indoor group exercise for adults.
In the rest of Scotland, pubs and restaurants can only open inside between 06:00 and 18:00 daily until Sunday 25 October, and they are not allowed to serve alcohol.
They are only allowed to serve food and non-alcoholic drinks, although they can serve alcohol outdoors until 22:00.
Hotel restaurants can serve food after 18:00, but only for residents and without alcohol.
Throughout the nation, face coverings are compulsory in indoor communal settings, such as staff canteens and corridors in workplaces.
What are rules in Wales?
From 18:00 on Friday 16 October, people from parts of the UK that have high rates of coronavirus will be prevented from travelling to Wales.
Pubs, cafes and restaurants in Wales have to stop serving alcohol at 22:00. Pubs are required to provide table service only.
Sales of alcohol from off-licences and supermarkets after 22:00 are also banned.